Archive for the News Category

Tales From The Hood: A Social Commentary

Posted in News with tags , , , , on February 3, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

220px-HoodposterTales from the Hood was a culturally expressive trilogy told in a metaphor of horror. The stories were real at their core, and so expressive of aspects of black culture that are addressed directly, yet mitigated by the perspective of supernatural horror so that these issues are hauntingly underlying in the forefront of our minds. We come away with a multitude of emotion, partly because we are not given much time to digest the outcome of each story before transitioning to the next. In the beginning, we are introduced to the crazy funeral director who makes the promise of “the shit” to a trio of gangbangers who stick around to listen to his stories.

In the first little story, “Rogue Cop Revelation,” a black councilman who is trying to bring about change by addressing the issues of crime and corruption being committed by those in authority. In a not-so-ironic twist, he is murdered by shady cops, while another black officer stands by helplessly. The black officer is “one of them” in the sense that he is also a cop, which may have helped to save his life, even though he is nothing like the others. We sympathize with the young officer because he was not the perpetuator of the violence, and we can’t blame him for putting his own safety above all else as his reason for not stopping the murder. After all, how many of us would have stepped in if it meant risking our own lives? He is, in his own unique way, just as much a victim as the man who was murdered. There is such complexity behind the story. The councilman was murdered in such a way that any progress he might have made e_tales-from-the-hood_vlcsnap-125513would be rendered null and void. Who would heed the words of a man fighting to keep drugs off the street if he were found dead of an extreme overdose? Once more, he was fighting against those who had the power to cover up what really happened. This, however, left the officer who stood by with the pain of guilt…so much that he hears the voice of the councilman seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.

In the second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised,” we are shown a life steeped in domestic violence, made all the more powerful because abuse is more prevalent in African-American households. The little boy shows up to school with suspicious marks on his face, possibly evidencing the unspoken horrors at home. The little boy speaks of a monster, which we find out is how he sees his abuser. Not a “monster” in the sense that an adult might use it to refer to someone who commits unspeakable violence against a woman or child, but an actual monster. This is completely accurate, as a child has the most honest vision of the world around them with grains of truth intermingled in between, even if their perceptions extend into the fantastical. I feel as this segment is very symbolic, 8b06558ceb6911e1955eaa75617f2616because we often lose our fears as we grow into adulthood. As we get older, we may feel untouchable by things that haunted us as children. Depicting the abuser as a monster not only shows us the inhumanity behind the evil of someone who has the capacity to harm a child, but also gives us, as viewers, the sense of something stronger than ourselves, thus putting us in the place of the little boy in the story: Hopeless. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering the little boy on as David Allan Grier’s character fell victim to a most untimely death.

In the last story, and my personal favorite, “KKK Comeuppance,” a senator tries to change his racist image by—get this—purchasing a plantation home, rich in a history of slavery. He smiles to the public, adhering to his statements that he is not a racist and has shed his old ways. His personal cameraman, an African-American man whose purpose serves as “the black friend,” a sort of testimony to “prove” that he has changed a new leaf and to catch the senator’s recreational moments on film to show him in a different light, surely wouldn’t be supporting this senator if he were still a racist—Would he? This is the conundrum. If given the chance to be included in the “one of us” group, would talesfromthehood1you reject all that you are in order to rise above the struggle? He cracks jokes about his own race, and seems to side with the senator. This is an element of the movie that I have thought about long and hard. There are tributaries of thought that branch off from this on-screen relationship. What makes the cameraman different from other black people in the eyes of the senator, if it does at all? Maybe he is nothing more than a pawn in his political game. Did the cameraman truly remove himself from his racial identity in an attempt to achieve some sort of “superiority” by dissociation, and by association to a powerful white man? It did not, however, bring him immunity from the vengeance of the dolls in the painting. Because these dolls were possessed with the spirits of slaves, they brought a looming sense to this story of just how close in history and in current attitudes we are to racism, defying the cries of how the past is in the past. Just like racism, the dolls easily meshed into the backdrop of a scene painted at a time in history, not forgotten but ignored, by those who didn’t believe in the stories behind the painting, much in the way people ignore stories of slavery and lynchings in the old south.

In the last scene, we see the funeral director with the young gangbangers. I will not reveal exactly what happens, although I feel this is directly addressing the issue of “black on black crime.” I felt it was perfect as an “afterthought” to the movie, which, at the same time, tied into the “main idea.” Whenever white-on-black crime is featured in the c4cd157b7de2b7f223fd4c816cb282abe5ac8ec5news, or even as such a heavy theme just as in this movie, it creates a one-sided dialogue of, “What about black-on-black crime? No one ever mentions that.” And the thing is, it is talked about, but not everyone hears. Moreover, black on black crime is never denied, as implied by these questions that try to sidestep the conversation on the existence of racism. So, to anyone who asks those same questions in regard to the movie presented as a horror-based parallel to real life racism, ask them if they’ve watched it until the end.

Tales from the Hood is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, and I love horror. However, it breaks the mold by combining scenes that are sure to keep you up all night with a powerful social commentary that comes through in the imagery, words, subtlety, and the overt. There is a consciousness and thought-provocation in the way that the stories are told and intermingled and segmented to soften the blow, just giving you enough time to recover from the horror and discomfort of the experience of one story before easing you into the next. This is a piece of art that should not just be looked at from one facet, but from many, to feel and experience the full effect.

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Hailing from the Red state of Texas, Joslyn Corvis is a very proud liberal and feminist. As a first-time college student as of January, 2016, she hopes to pursue a degree in Joslyn Corvis headshotpsychology to become a counselor. She enjoys parks when the weather is nice, late night trips to Whataburger, and sipping coffee from sun-up ‘til sun-down on weekends. You can find more of Joslyn and her works at http://gothicgenie.wix.com/home

Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

Black Women in Horror:

 Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror.

“If my soul got jacked, where is it?”L.A. Banks

Happy Black History Month! I want to start this out in saying, yes, this blog post will be long and peppered in fangirl moments. I will drone on about the awesomeness of author L.A. Banks and her extraordinary writing skills in horror/thrillers. I will gawk at the idea that she is not praised as much as she should be, and I will tear up at the reality that this author’s incredible gifts have been lost to us in the literary world. This is my respectful tribute to her…it is what it is. -smile-

banks6In the world of Horror, in link with black women, there are only two names that comes to mind for me that have been cultural innovators and pop icons in this area of literature. And today I’m choosing to speak on the one that I was lead to deeply admire, Leslie Esdaile Banks. Better known as L.A. Banks. When you think of horror, the greats who founded it, and those who followed in their footsteps, oftentimes many people don’t equate women in that class.

People always are quick to name the greats, Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and contemporaries, Clive Barker and Stephen King as the masters of horror. I take nothing away from them. However, women were also at the forefront of horror. They were the literal foundation that inspired many past and current male horror authors that we so fondly idolize.

“Humans have been telling scary stories of great danger, defeat, and triumph since we built campfires outside the caves while the wolves were howling in the hills near us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Women of horror helped craft a culture within the medium that added character to how many male horror writers developed their own stories. A level of maturity, audaciousness, sensuality, and political/social commentary between the pages of great stories that scared us senseless. Who were the women that influenced horror? These founding women were: Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelly, and more. Later they would influence and shaped the pens of contemporary women horror writers such as Carrie Vaughn, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Charlaine Harris. However, it is black women writers such as Tananarive Due and L.A. Banks who chose to elevate the medium and bring with them a fresh flair to the foundation that has sorely been missed, the reality of the black voice and everyday man/woman.

banks5L.A. Banks contribution to horror was shaped around where she came from and the no-holds bar realities of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“L.A. Banks’s career was born out of tragedy. Years ago, her six-month-old daughter was severely burned, she was going through a divorce, she lost her job when she took time off to be with her daughter, and she was broke. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the grief, she turned to writing – creating page after page of entertainment that kept her girlfriends so entranced they submitted the complete manuscript to publishers without telling her.” – Janice Gable Bashman via Wild River Review 2011

I’m very sure if you look at the lives of the founding women writers in horror, that they too began writing due to specifics in their lives that mandated them taking pen to paper. Culture shifts, frustrations with status, political views, a sense of advocacy in the world. Horror provided the appropriate medium for these women writers to showcase our most feared secret places in our psyche and spirit. L.A. Banks had a gift for doing the same thing. Before ‘Black Lives Matter’ was shouted, L.A. Banks characters in her well-loved and known horror/thriller/pararomance series, The Vampire Huntress Series and Crimson Moon Series, were actively in the streets kicking ass, and taking names later in the same branch of protest and demand for justice. Black Lives Mattered in all her works.

“Fear, hatred, oppression – that’s pure evil and it never lasts. Love endures.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks4         L.A. Banks was proud of being a woman writer in horror, paranormal fantasy and more. She was proud of her place as a black woman in the literary world as well. This is why she was ahead of her time. She created a culture where young and old could come together for a cause in saving ourselves from the pains of the streets and the political strife in our governments. Her characters bucked the system of global oppression without batting an eye.

Bloodshed, hearts being snatched out, fangs tearing into necks, demon possessions, werewolves and jaguars, naughty sensual sex. L.A. Banks world was intense and oh so good. What is masked as vampires and demons, monsters snatching people from their beds or in the streets, was a well-written allegory for issues such as police brutality, martial law, government cover-ups, drugs and poverty in our communities. Her works were even crafted as a way to speak about the disconnect between young and old in how we all viewed the lens of civil rights and social rights.

Again, L.A. Banks was ahead of her time.

“The vampire represents a lot of what we see in society. They’re scarier because of that; because the vampire can be anybody. He just blends in and looks perfectly normal. Like serial killers often look like normal people… the fear factor is that they’re among us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Her grasp of writing to reach those of us not only in the Black community but also in the Latino, and even white community was something that not many authors today can effectively balance. Listen, when you have a supernatural team of people tasked to save us from the apocalypse, and these characters come from every walk of life. Young, old, street kids, Jews, Latino priests, bikers gangs, southern folks, and more? You then have a mix for how we should be coming together to build ourselves up before we fall into destruction and also shows that on a human level, we all should be able to come together without issue. It makes reading her books immensely relatable. This is why L.A. Banks works resonated well with her fans.

“The more I know what is going on in the world, the more it effects my choices, how I vote, how I spend my money, how I relate to others. I am empowered by what I know, laid bare and ignorant by what I don’t know.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks3As a means to reach us all, L.A. Banks used her medium of scaring the hell out of you, while educating you without being preachy unless needed to be. Her style was deftly smooth and gripping, that in my opinion it influenced not only her readers but Hollywood as well. Case-in-point, before her passing L.A. Banks had been featured as a commentary for the behind-the-scenes look at HBO’s True Blood as it was premiered. Like many writers, we research our craft to create our worlds.

Not only did the writers do the same in shaping author Charlaine Harris popular book, but they also used the influences of many other writers to make it a richer environment. Once such influence was L.A. Banks slang and flair. “Dropping Fang” came from her works and found a way in the language of True Blood.

“…Vampires had taken the mantle as the perfectly dangerous lover – the forbidden, kinky, deep dark sensualist. Move over, vamps, somebody in pop culture let the dogs out. So we now have the phenomena where injustice, rage, plus the phase of the moon, means that the otherwise mild-mannered individual who is playing by the rules of society just gets fed up and rips your face off.”– L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks2L.A. Banks had a powerful influential gift for writing. Had we not lost her, I believe that she and her works would have continued to not only help in our current climate today, but also changed the diversity of Hollywood.

As she stated back in 2011, “There is always a mentor, a Yoda, a Sensei, a learned master that helps the young initiate along their path of trials and tribulations until they emerge victorious.” Mama Banks you were our mentor, and master in the world of Horror, paranormal speculative fiction and more. August 2, 2011 is the day L.A. Banks parted from this world. It still saddens me that she is not celebrated more, because to me, she is right there in the ranks of Octavia Butler. Women in Horror have been overlooked and oftentimes ignored, especially with fellow women writers like myself. One day this will change.

We women are proud to take on the task of holding up the mantel of women horror writers like I’ve mentioned previously. It’s now up to the readers to turn a willing eye our way and step into our creepy, sinister, maliciously evil works and join us on our journey into greatness. Besides, we’ve been the inspiration for many male writers already. Why not continue the ride?

“Knowledge is Power.” – Carlos Rivera (VHL series)

L.A. Banks, also known as Mama Banks (to us fans), we miss you dearly. Thank you for being a beacon of light for myself as a writer and many others. I only hope that I become the same way as you were for me because when no one else will speak your name, I will. This is your right of honor as is your place at the Queen’s table for us black women writers. Thank you again and happy Black History Month!

 

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Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series and continuing works. Since a young childScreenshot_2016-01-31-15-02-55-1-1-1, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. You can find Kai Leakes at: www.kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes

l.a.banks
Read more of L.A. Banks interview with Wild River Review here: http://www.wildriverreview.com/Interview/L.A._Banks/From_Tragedy_to_triumph/bashman/October_09

 

Intro to Celebrating Black Horror History

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

HorrorAddicts Black History Month

Intro to Celebrating Black Horror History

By Sumiko Saulson

60-black-women-in-horrorI’m proud to be the host of “Celebrating Black Horror History” during the month of February 2016. I would like to invite you, dear reader, to join us for an entire month of guest blogs, interviews, and offerings from the usual delightful staff here at HorrorAddicts.net that honor, highlight and celebrate the current and historical contributions members of the African Diaspora have made to the horror genre. I am excited to have so many talented guest contributors who are themselves, quite accomplished.  They include bestselling author Balogun Ojetade, Bram Stoker award winner Linda D. Addison, the prolific Crystal Connor and Kai Leaks, award-winning author Valjeanne Jeffers,  and many others.

As the author of 60 Black Women in Horror, I am no stranger to the subject of where black people stand in relation to the horror genre.  In fact, I first came into contact with HorrorAddicts back in 2013, when I was working on that very project as an ambassador for Women in Horror Month. David Watson’s 2012 article on African American horror writers was one of my reference materials when I was doing research for 60 Black Women in Horror.

This month, we will be looking at not only at authors, but black contributors to all aspects of the horror genre. We will cover topics as diverse as Lori Titus’ exploration of Black Women in Horror Comics, Eden Royce’s look at Southern Conjure Magic’s Contribution to Horror – the Realities versus the Fictitious, and James Goodridge’s  take on Real World Zombies.

We will look at the black presence (and sometimes, lack thereof) in horror films with Balogun Ojetade’s article on Early Black Horror Films of the 40s and 50s, Alicia McCalla’s perspective on Sembene in Penny Dreadful, Joslyn Corvis’s treatise on Tales from the Hood, James Goodridge’s personal perspective essay On the Dearth of Black Characters in Horror Movies, my piece From Producer to Actor: Wesley Snipes’ contribution to the Blade Franchise, Paula Ashe’s Sister My Sister: An Open Love Letter to Abby and Jenny Mills from Sleepy Hollow, and my look at Horror Legend Tony Todd.

The black presence in horror writing will also be a topic of discussion from both the author and the sumiko-blog-photocharacter points of view, with Linda D Addison’s Genesis: The First Black Horror Writers,  Kai Leaks’ essay on Author L.A. Banks’ Contribution to Horror, Bret Alexander Sweet’s Magical Realism in Toni Morrison (Beloved, Sulu, Song of Solomon), Kenesha Williams’s piece on Author Tananarive Due’s Contribution to Horror, Valjeanne Jeffers’s piece on Author Octavia Butler’s Contribution to Horror, Crystal Connor’s piece on The Inclusion of Black History in Speculative Fiction, and Nicole Kurtz ‘s article on The Representation of Black Women in The Dark Tower.

I hope you will enjoy the upcoming month of black history in horror features. Thank you for joining us.

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Sumiko Saulson’s blog “Things That Go Bump In My Head” focuses on horror fiction writing and features author interviews, writing advice, short stories and editorial pieces. She is the author of two novels in the science fiction and horror genres, “Solitude,” and “Warmth”, and a Young Adult dark fantasy series, “The Moon Cried Blood”, which was originally a novel.  Her fourth novel “Happiness and Other Diseases” will be released October 18, 2014.  She is also the author of a short story anthology “Things That Go Bump In My Head”.  She writes for the Oakland Art Scene for the Examiner.com. A published poet and writer of short stories and editorials, she was once profiled in a San Francisco Chronicle article about up-and-coming poets in the beatnik tradition. The child of African American and Russian-Jewish American parents, she is a native Californian, and was born and spent her early childhood in Los Angeles, moving to Hawaii, where she spent her teen years, at the age of 12. She has spent most of her adult life living in the San Francisco Bay Area. http://sumikosaulson.com/

Audio Flashback: Rhonda Carpenter’s take on LUST

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 31, 2016 by Emerian Rich

Audio Flashback:

Rhonda Carpenter’s take on LUST

for the Wicked Women Writer’s

Challenge, 2010

Horror Addicts Bonus Episode
Hosted by H. E. Roulo and Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: James Perry
http://www.jamesperrymusic.com
—————————-
Theme: Seven Deadly Sins
Featured Author: Rhonda Carpenter
Sin:  Lust

Audio Flashback: Michele Roger’s take on Gluttony

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 30, 2016 by Emerian Rich

Audio Flashback:

Michele Roger’s take on Gluttony

for the Wicked Women Writer’s

Challenge, 2010

Horror Addicts Bonus Episode
Hosted by H. E. Roulo and Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: James Perry
http://www.jamesperrymusic.com
—————————-
Theme: Seven Deadly Sins
Featured Author: Michele Roger
Sin:  Gluttony
—————————-

Free Fiction Friday: Burning from the Inside (Envy) by Alex Johnson

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 29, 2016 by Alex S. Johnson

Burning from the Inside (Envy)

by Alex S. Johnson

Don’t stop–you’re almost there.

But the integument was sticky and hard to handle, and she was working from a medical textbook, the lines of type blurring, completely winging it, besides the over-reaching mental hammers from the blow.

Lines. She snuffled and the cocaine-flecked mucus dripped onto her tongue. A tingling, metallic sensation.

Chemical hammers smashed her brain when she needed more than anything precision, a hand that didn’t shake, eyes that didn’t flash with demons.

Just concentrate.

The “rock star” lay on the gleaming, sterile operating table, silent as Stephen in that Chris and Cosey song. But unlike Doctor John, Sondra wasn’t taking trophies simply to get off. There was much more to it than that. She was giving herself the face she deserved, had worked and sweated for. The well-padded industry audience expected a cynical indulgence, a vanity fair. Not Liquid Bambi, who reports in Billboard said was missing in action. When Bambi strutted down from the Vampire Room in glorious boudoir gear, they’d lose their shit.

Fat beads of blood on stainless steel, running into the grooves. Because her nose was acting up again.

More lines. Color within. Don’t stray from the path. You can do this thing.

Next week was the showcase at the Whiskey. Granted, she had paid–again, through the nose, as it bloody were–but that was the way the game worked these days.

If only she had the talent encased in the semi-conscious artist on the slab.

If you cut her, you will come.

Nice, Sondra, a good jest, but it won’t lift the face intact.

Screw this. She reaches and pulls. It’s a nice little moment, straight out of Les Yeux Sans Visage (which had just played at the Hollywood Forever cemetery).

Finally, the idol’s mask was free.

Dripping wet as sex, smeared with the red, red krovvy, but fully wearable once it had been cured. And a little juju, dark, rich, opiate bloodrush with the spirit of her great-grandmother howling inside, bent over backwards with the force of the loa as it pounded and pounded.

Sondra put it on. And gazed at her reflection in the metal. And sought a mirror to primp and preen before. And nearly vomited with the rush. It was everything, sex magic heliotropes blazing across the last stretch of land before the Pacific tide, salt, kelp, sacrifice. Where the sun went down melting the horizon.

She gyrated in her white lab coat and did a striptease, Doctor John’s Traveling Apocalyptic Nightmare, starring Sondra De La Guerre, late of New Orleans, West Hollywood’s finest.

Oh the stunning eroticism of her body, so lean and skinny her ribs ran like window slats beneath her breasts. She photographed so well.

She had thought and pondered and considered how to replace Bambi. It was easy in this town to find someone, or a few someones, brutal, degraded and greedy enough to kidnap the star from her Beverly Hills Hotel under some simple pretense and shuttle her out as an emergency–make way, make way–shove her into the waiting ambulance driven by an ex member of the Polish Mafia, gun the engine and burn rubber to the hole-in-the-wall porn store on La Brea where they carried Bambi’s limp body into a storeroom, tied her up and texted Sonda with the code.

Sondra could not wait for showtime.

Showtime

Backstage she ignored the ponderous critique that she might lay off the Bolivian until after the gig. Apparently glazed over with ennui, the label reps would regard her coldly, assessing her every move. If she stumbled on this one, her career, which had budded several times without flowering, was finished. Then she’d have to return in shame to her home in the Lower Ninth Ward and sell her skeleton to johns who liked their whores with a little less flesh on their bones.

Even behind the narcotics, she realized her secret plan was completely insane. Wearing the actual face of a real rock star to shock-start her own rocket to the top of the charts was madness maddened, and she would never get away with it. But. It had never been done before. Combining the cutting-edge aesthetics of an Ed Gein with Bowie body English, traces of the Runaways, a little Trent Reznor, a dash of Manson, Sondra’s performance would make headlines and focus the nation’s attention on her. Her, not that–admittedly talented–twat whose visage she’d snatched.

Industrial beat, rubber drums, the sh-sh-sh of digital cymbals. Floodlights. Flashbulbs. A strange, high buzz in her inner ear.

She grabbed the mic and tossed her long, raven-black hair, feeling spectacular now in a red vinyl jumpsuit that accentuated her curves and streamlined her gaunt torso. Right horrorshow. The Diva of her time.

The crowd was silent. Nobody said a word.

“How are you feeling tonight?”

More flashbulbs. Sonda blinked.

Something was wrong.

She felt the Bambi mask writhe and seethe against her skin. Hot filaments pierced her forehead, her cheeks, her eyes. She screamed.

She could barely hear the din of the audience. Sirens in the smoky distance. The crackle of police radios.

Bambi’s face began to devour her own. It burned like acid, like napalm. She smelled sizzling flesh and brought her hands up, screamed again with the pain as her fingers stuck to the mask and through to her skull and she pulled and it came away in flaming ribbons, tassels of fire…until the red bundles of her face muscles gleamed forth and she opened her mouth and a beautiful, sweet song poured out, but it wasn’t her own.

It would never be hers.

The limelight. The glamour. The accolades. All reserved for the real rock star, as the fingers of pain thrust down Sondra’s throat and opened her up, all the rotten green stuff within slopping out. The color of money, of jealousy, greed and envy.

Which was, in the end, her entire legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David’s Haunted Library: The Unsaintly

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 28, 2016 by David Watson

22890862Isabel has dedicated her life to serving others. She is the daughter of the Blanche of Castille and Louis VIII and raised as a Catholic. She had a path she was supposed to follow but instead she chose to serve God and become a nun. Isabel is pure of heart and has suffered from stigmata, you could say she has a gift at showing compassion for others. Little does she know that her faith and kindness has made her  a pawn in the battle between heaven and hell.

In her monastery, angels in disguise are watching over her and God and Lucifer are fighting for her soul. One angel was put there by god to record her actions and Lucifer is also there in the form of a priest.  Isabel suffers through demonic possession and she watches the people she loves put in danger. She is put to the ultimate test of faith in the battle of good and evil and along the way she will have to accept some dark truths.

The Unsaintly by Lisa Vasquez is set in 1254, a time when religion was taken much more seriously then it is now. I was drawn to this book because I liked the idea of someone who is presented as almost saint like being stuck in a battle of good versus evil. In the beginning you get to know Isabel and you like her because she has humanity’s best interests at heart. Isabel to me is a tragic character, you see that all of these eyes are on her and she is forced into some rough situations and you root for her to keep her faith.

While Isabel herself is my favorite part of this book I also liked the setting. This story wouldn’t have worked if it was set in a different time period  and I liked how the monastery and the  armies battling towards the end are described. In the beginning of the book I also enjoyed the discussion that Lucifer has with God. Among the two you get the feeling that they are really shades of grey rather than black and white, but with the human characters you have an easier time telling who is good and who is bad. There is a lot going on this book, considering that it deals with the question of faith and what we believe to be right and wrong, you know it’s going to be a serious novel that draws you into a different world.

The Unsaintly is no light read, this is a dark story and a little bit depressing. The good people in this book suffer and there is no humor to lighten the mood. I feel that Lisa must have really done her homework on this book. Its been a long time since I’ve read the bible but I remember what my perceptions of god and Lucifer were and the way they are presented in this book match how I saw them when I was a kid. This is a well written book and you can tell that Lisa put a lot of thought into how the characters and setting should be. This is a great horror novel that will have you questioning how you think about God.

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